caring packages

-two new books
-two DVDs
-two magazines
-two letters
-five (!) bars of chocolate
-one jar of Roma
-one jar of Nutella (confiscated at airport, but the thought was nice)
-one newspaper
-three people I love

Plus Emily and Jim visiting this week. In the middle of exams, report cards, and the end of First Partial (already?!), I count goodness on my fingers and write it on my arms.


Recognizing Women, Part III

Narrowing down to three out of all the women I´d like to celebrate is no small choice, but this third one is undoubtedly one of the strongest and beautiful women I´ve ever met. And as life would have it, I got to spend quite a bit more time with her in the year before moving south.

Patty Ediger, carpenter, horse-back rider, gardener, animal lover, listener, frequent crier, and source of clever commentary, is becoming like another mom to me. She´s fairly tiny but word has it she could out-arm wrestle her sons until they were 7th graders. She helped build her family´s house and their business and is self-taught and capable with legal, company, and non-profit financial bookkeeping. She gives classy DIY projects for Christmas. She goes on canoe-camping trip dates with her husband. She is basically the woman we all want to be.

Patty turned 50 on March 10th and wrote me,
´I cringe with the thought of it....why? Maybe because I have had a certain image of what 50 will be and didn´t like it... maybe because as a woman in this culture I already have had to struggle to find value in a man's world and becoming older in a culture that actually marginalizes older people rather than honoring and valuing them ...well it´s just a bit depressing I have to say. However, your words cheer me up and I need to take [a Tibetan friend´s] advice and just choose to not think about it. I feel great, I feel strong and young and I should be happy about that.´

I love her honesty. May women know more honor and value in the Northwest and all over the planet, calling it out in each other and wearing wisdom and strength and beauty as crowns.


Recognizing Women, Part II

A woman who reminds of writer and former Westmont prof Marilyn Chandler McEntyre (who deserves an entry to herself) is Kettle Falls´ own Lynn Schott. Also a poet and teacher, I got to write an article about this lady last summer when she retired from teaching high school English. That was in the town eight miles from mine, so I never got to have her, but her reputation as a teacher in a forest-industry town is highly upheld. Born and raised in San Francisco, and having spent several years of her 20s in Guatemala, Lynn´s choice to teach at a struggling high school in a poor, rural area greatly blessed hundreds of students. For me, meeting Lynn brought with it increased respect for all good teachers (especially those lovers of language and story) and a seed-idea that maybe at some point I want to try my hand at teaching high school or community college English. The woman holds to high standards, asks questions that push into the comfortable and accepted, and demonstrates kindness to even the most difficult students. She doesn´t have email or a computer, so she won´t be reading this, but if you could meet her, she´d make you coffee and you´d sit in her garden or by her fireplace and have a long, rich conversation.


Recognizing Women, part I

This little post from the lovely Ms. Lisa Borden reminded me that Today is International Women's Day.

I want to take her lead (another beloved woman worth emulating) and recognize some women this week who have been mentors and role models to me.

#1) Rosemarie Springer. Like Lisa, who got to know Rusty on Westmont College's San Francisco Urban semester in Spring '82, I found the acquaintance of the lady during my time in the city in Spring '08. Rusty, who just celebrated her 80th birthday, was 77 then, a retired Urban professor who sat on the board of Sojourn, the non-profit multi-faith chaplaincy at General Hospital, where I interned. My professor, Brad Berky (who was on Urban '82 with Lisa!) kept insisting I meet Rusty. When we finally met, it was love at first sight. She is a lover of literature, poetry, conversation, food and drink, and, of course, the city. She lives in Little Italy and still climbs four flights of stairs each day to her apartment. She's never been married (though she was once engaged), but still goes on dates. Rusty once told me that she has learned to 'Celebrate the days as they are,' and those small instructions have written themselves into me. I deeply hope to spend another day sharing coffee or tea with her when I return from Central America. Having a friend so much older feels a bit precarious, with the future of even this year unknown. But I wouldn't trade anything to know Rusty, she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever spent time with.

More coming!


´here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than the soul can hope
or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that´s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart
(i carry it in my heart).´

-e.e. cummings